Nobody ever applauds me at work. Never. Ever.
Well , there are the few times, I suppose, that I make a presentation or give a lecture and my audience applauds as a courtesy. This is not so much a spontaneous applause of appreciation but rather a muted, forced, half-hearted, because-we-gotta-do-it applause. When I say no one ever applauds me at work I mean a genuine hand slapping appreciation of a job well done. That doesn’t happen to me at work and I bet it doesn’t happen to most of the folks reading this post.
When I played sports througout high school and then college I got very used to having people applaud. If you have ever been involved in high school sports you can probably appreciate this. Parents, friends, family and various school supporters came to the games and man did they applaud. Yell. Cheer. They painted faces and dressed up. They were totally engaged. One of my high school coaches told me to enjoy this atmosphere because it wasn’t going to last. He was right. As I grew older and played less competitive sports the only people that came were spouses and kids of the players. We made fun of the guys who’s wives and girlfriends actually came to these games.
What started me thinking about this thread is that apart from my honest to goodness 9-5 work-a-day life I pretend to be a musician. As a musician, performing lots of live gigs, I receive lots of applause. I also am the recipient of well wishing, congratulations and a genuine appreciation of the art I create. Sometimes people buy my CD’s and ask me to sign them. When this first started happening I thought people were setting me up to make fun. But that is not the case and for this I am thrilled. There is simply no better feeling than having people sincerely appreciate your work on that level. In return, I try to make sure everyone that supports me know that I genuinely appreciate their gift to me. Reciprocation.
A great gig stays with me for weeks. These are not necessarily the gigs that I feel I sound the best, or have the most people attend, but rather they are the shows in which I am able genuinely connect with someone — or multiple people. These are the shows where I know that my music has been received and appreciated. When the applause is genuine.
This is neither narcissistic nor egocentric. It is about doing something you genuinely love to do and connecting with folks who can appreciate that. This is both rewarding and fulfilling. I am not suggesting you find something that people will necessarily applaud you for, rather, I am suggesting finding that thing you love to do and put it on display for everyone to see. Kind of like this blog I suppose.